“The National award for the Best Actor goes to Rishabh Sehgal….”
The auditorium erupted, drowning the emcee’s drawl. The dignitaries on the dais of the enormous arena and the audience stood to welcome the prolific actor.
In his trademark sequined kurta and churidar, Rishabh ‘Kamini’ Sehgal sashayed on the dais. He blew air-kisses to the still roaring fans even as the staccato of the flashbulbs blazed across the semi-dark jamboree.
Even as he smiled and raised the award trophy, his eyes gleamed with unshed tears as the cacophonic assemblage hollered, ‘Kamini…’ ‘Kamini…’
“So Rishabh… how does it feel to receive the prestigious National award…?” The emcee spoke.
“I am humbled and want to thank everyone in the production unit, my co-stars, and the amazing audience for their love…”
The wave of roars soared higher, giving the world a glimpse of Rishabh’s popularity.
“A question everyone wants to know, Rishabh… How did it feel playing a woman, a brothel madam ‘Kamini’…?”
“I… it just felt like coming home….” Rishabh said, his smile unfaltering as the audience continued to eat out of his hand.
“Can you elaborate, Rishabh?”
Rishabh sighed and hugged the award.
‘No one will ever love you….’ his father’s voice from a decade ago rang in his ears.
“I promise you all….” He declared. “…in the next couple of days, on my 30th birthday, I shall make an announcement.”
Rishabh left the venue, walking along the red carpet under the bright glow of the erected halogens, as the evening floral breeze blew his silky mane all over.
The paparazzi flocked to capture his poise, and he didn’t disappoint them. He was undeniably the favorite celebrity for the glorious night.
‘No one will ever love you…
Later, Rishabh somberly opened his twentieth-floor bedroom window. The city lights glittered seductively scattered like clinquant adornments. As the slender curtain-tassel gently whipped against his cheeks, his languid heart began to pace up.
‘No one will ever love you….’
Half an hour later, with just the night lamp on, he stood before the ornate mirror, holding up a pair of anklets. The Argentine luminance brightened up his face, devoid of the day-old scruff. He stared at his facsimile; his silky bangs let loose to meander their way around his broad face. His neat eyebrows without a speck of hair out of place and the dazzling vermillion adorning his pouting lips peered back. The derelict pleats of the scarlet saree cascaded down his lithe body, ending just above his painted toes.
The sweet serenade of the night bereft of stars and just the moonlight sliver tiptoeing its way to join the lamp’s luminance, he wore the trinkets.
Decision made; his trans-woman ilk would now exit the infernal closet.
‘No one will ever love you…’
“I love myself…” he screamed.
The shimmering jingle as he strode towards the window calmed his mind.
Heart brimming with emotions vagrant
I am neither chivalrous nor gallant
No longer burdened, I shake the inertia
My attitude, my pride, my Philautia…
A trans-woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth. Transgender people in India were granted legal status in 2014, but many face discrimination and struggle to find work. There are an estimated five million transgender people in India, commonly known as hijra – a definition that also includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, eunuchs, and transvestites. They are, more often than not, mocked and ridiculed.
This flash fiction is an attempt to spread awareness about them.
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